Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford emerged as the winner of the Comeback Player of the Year Award for 2011 in the wake of a Lions season that saw industrial strength numbers, late-game comebacks, another amazing year from a guy called Megatron and a long-sought playoff appearance.
While the Lions haven’t exactly been shut out of the NFL awards party in recent years—Ndomukong Suh was voted defensive rookie of the year in 2010—the press hasn’t been generous to the organization since the Barry Sanders era.
It could be argued that the Lions were unduly overlooked for additional awards this year, including coach of the year for Jim Schwartz, executive of the year for Martin Mayhew and fire starter of the year for Calvin Johnson—oh, wait, that’s not an award?
But rather than see these absences as slights, we might view them as dues marked paid, an opportunity to create an up-sloping trend of honors set by the Lions’ very own 5,000-yard passer.
In the meantime, some players were rewarded by the team for their outstanding individual effort:
- Chuck Hughes Most Improved Player—Stafford
- Top Offensive Lineman—center Dominic Raiola
- Mel Farr Rookie of the Year—wide receiver Titus Young
- Mike Utley Spirit Award—wide receiver Nate Burleson
- Yale Lary Special Teams MVPs—kicker Jason Hanson and safety John Wendling
It’s not a reach to think that one of these in-house winners, or some other deserving standout who is yet to be acknowledged, could join Stafford in stepping onto the national awards stage by the end of the 2012 season. For now, though, whether you consider it congratulation or consolation, fans like to see their guys acknowledged one last time as the season winds down, and this crew deserves the accolades.
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